Last night myself and my colleague Steven Murray attended the Young Professionals in Renewables Networking (YPiRN) Event being held at the Glasgow Science centre to hear the industries thoughts on the upcoming challenges we are going to be facing in the market and potential solutions to these problems. The event was well attended and it was a very fitting venue with various exhibits and workshops giving demonstrations on various forms of energy and how they work – the hydrogen “explosion” was of particular interest! For those of you who have never been to the Science Centre, I’d highly recommend the venue not only for networking events but also to see the planetarium – a spectacular sight to see!
There was a panel of representatives from different aspects of the industry including regulators and developers. Questions had been set beforehand to the panel surrounding various topics which included the capacity of battery storage technology and where the market is going as well as how attractive Scotland is looking at a market for investors in the coming years. A very interesting comparison was made to work being carried out in California where battery storage is proving very successful however in the UK the regulations surrounding the technology and connection to the grid is causing a hold up in progression the systems, something which is being reviewed at present with a view to changing to allow a development of this technology. With our current renewable systems in place, it seems in Scotland we have “too much” power being generated through our various sources and a large portion of the energy generated is being lost so the potential for storing this power certainly holds an immense appeal and application.
In relation to how the market views Scotland and the UK, there are obvious questions being posed at the moment by various heads of the industry including a recent proposal by Keith Anderson, head of Scottish Power, to the Government about subsidies given to the market. One of the key points raised was that investors are reviewing profit margins across the market and how feasible schemes are. It seems that between the developers, engineers and investors there is very little margin available to increase profitability, but interestingly it does seem there is room with the turbine manufacturers in relation to margin – but again in comparison with the EU market we need to be careful as to how we go about reviewing this as other countries do not have the subsidies in place that the UK do so we may potentially incur an increase in overall cost.
From a recruiter’s perspective, it was fantastic to see so many future leaders in the sector get together with a clear goal – to achieve change through innovation and a change of attitude to the market. In particular, it was very positive to hear the remarks made by a representative of the 2050 group who are working on “mini-grids” for local communities to essentially run and supply their own power through various means such as single turbine installation. They are pushing individuals, not companies, to get together outside of work to present, challenge and collaborate with one another to find better ways of creating and managing the energy market for future generations – a message resounded by many at the event.
Overall an excellent evening which shows the commitment to developing Scotland and the UK’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and working towards a “greener” tomorrow. I look forward to the next event in February.
Were you at the YPiRN? Please do get in touch as I’d be keen to hear your thoughts & message that came from the evening's discussion and in particular where you feel your strengths will take you in the search for a viable solution to the questions facing us as a sector, country and indeed, community.